A few days ago, I finally watched Woody Allen's Another Woman (1988) that was on my list for years. It's one of Allen's more serious movies, and it all begins with a statement by the female protagonist, Marion: "If someone had asked me, when I reached my fifties, to assess my life, I'd have said I'd reached a decent level of fulfillment, personally and professionally." Then, she goes on describing the current state of her life, her professional career and her marriage. Marion has taken a hiatus from her work in order to write a book. She rents an apartment next to a psychiatrist's office, and one day she eavesdrops his conversation with his patient, a pregnant woman. Marion gets drawn to the woman, who's seemingly not happy with her life.
Marion is eavesdropping on a conversation between a psychiatrist and his patient.
Slowly, Marion, through the pregnant lady's conversations with her psychiatrist, begins to evaluate her own life, from her childhood and adolescence to present time. The audience quickly picks up a certain longtime conflict between Marion and her brother Paul. Marion begins to realize that not everything is fabulous in her own life. She is determined to change that, and I think Marion realizes that when she has a conversation with the pregnant woman's psychiatrist, when Marion tells him that she believes the woman cannot move forward because she cannot part with her lies. Suddenly, Marion sees herself in the young woman. What about her own past and present? Is her life as splendid as she thinks?
Marion realizes her own situation.
Even though Allen is really trying to get a Bergman look of this film, and thus it doesn't have an original Woody Allen expression, I still like how he portrayed the female protagonist, wonderfully played by Gena Rowlands, even her somewhat detached narration is very interesting, and in tune with the mood of the film.
I don't know, maybe because I am myself nearing a full five decades of life, but I think this film shows wonderfully how people often shut off their feelings about their own life experiences, thoughts on their parents, siblings, family, friends... We could probably all be better at reflecting on our lives, but I guess that also comes with the experience, and probably rarely before we hit the middle adulthood. As Marion utters the next-to-last line in the movie: "And I wondered if a memory is something you have or something you've lost."
The last line in the movie.